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Wards Cove Packing v. Atonio

Significance, Title Vii, New Era, New Majority, Pro-business Climate, What Is White Collar Crime?


Wards Cove Packing Company, Inc., et al.


Frank Atonio, et al.

Petitioner's Claim

That an earlier court judgment showing discrimination though "disparate impact" was incorrect.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Douglas M. Fryer

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Abraham A. Arditi

Justices for the Court

Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

5 June 1989


A racially segregated workforce does not show discrimination on the part of the employer if that workforce is a reflection of the pool of applicants, and thus is not in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Furthermore, in such cases the plaintiff, not the employer, must show proof that a specific hiring or personnel policy is responsible for an unfairly segregated workforce.

Related Cases

  • Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971).
  • Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229 (1976).


Criminal Law. Fourth Edition. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994